Egypt's state bureaucracy shrinks in 2012

Ahram Online, Sunday 11 Nov 2012

The number of public servants in Egypt decreased in 2011/12 mainly because of retiring workers, state statistics body says

The High Court of Justice
A view of the High Court of Justice in Cairo (Photo: Reuters)

Egyptian state bureaucracy functioned with 161,000 fewer employees in 2011/12 than the previous year, according to the Central Agency for Public Mobilisation and Statistics (CAPMAS).

In a statement on Sunday, state statistics body CAPMAS said that the number of public servants in the country has decreased by 2.9 per cent last year to 5.4 million.

"The decrease in numbers of public servants is because most of them have reached the age of retirement," said Abu Bakr El-Gendy, head of CAPMAS.

El-Gendy told Ahram Online that Egyptian public administration suffers from over-employment, assuring that it could function with a quarter of the current manpower. "The government should encourage the private sector to employ more Egyptians and that may mitigate the load on the public sector’s shoulder," he added.

However, El-Gendy recognises that the opposite is happening, as the government is actually hiring temporary and contract workers to work in the bureaucracy. Many temporary workers have protested over the last few years, asking for permanent contracts, which would pay better salaries.

Sacking a public servant is almost impossible in Egypt, unless the individual commits a crime. Mubarak's regime had proposed a new bill for public service which would facilitate dismissal of employees and link wages with performance.

The bill was set to be discussed in parliament in early 2011, but the eruption of the revolution put an end to the bill as well as the parliament itself.

While numbers of employees in the state bureaucracy decreased in 2011/12, the number employed in the public sector, which includes public enterprises and holding companies, increased by 1.2 per cent during the same period to reach 844,000.  

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